- Associated Press - Thursday, November 20, 2014

LAKE SHORE, Minn. (AP) - Archaeological work ahead of a highway reconstruction project through a northern Minnesota town is unearthing campsites and artifacts from 2,000 years ago.

The archaeological study is being done in Lake Shore before the Highway 77 reconstruction project begins in 2017. Florin Cultural Resource Services is conducting the work along the west side of Gull Lake to evaluate the historical significance of the landscape, according to Frank Florin, principal investigator and owner of the company.

“We’re gaining some good information that will enhance the understanding of the history of the area,” he said.

The 10-person team digs holes, and then uses hand-held shovels and screens to sift through the dirt. So far, they have found rare stone net weights, ceramic pottery pieces, arrowheads, spear points, fire-cracked rocks and animal bones, The (Brainerd) Daily Dispatch (https://bit.ly/1vsXpk5 ) reported. The artifacts indicate the existence of Native American campsites, according to Florin.

He said he was most excited to find about 25 rare stone net weights, which were used several hundred years ago to weigh down fishing nets.



“I’ve been doing this for 25 years and this is the first time I’ve found them. They’re just not that common,” Florin said.

The little ceramic pieces date back about 2,000 years, while some of the other artifacts are roughly 500 to 800 years old. A few moose and elk bones found among the campsites are date back 1,000 years or so.

Many of the artifacts the team has discovered are typical of prehistoric people and the area, Florin said.

“They are fundamental basic things people used to live,” he said.

All of the artifacts will eventually be curated at the Minnesota Historical Society. This kind of work is vital, according to Florin, because history allows people to better understand the world and move forward in the future.

“It’s about respecting and honoring traditions and the people that were here,” he said. “It enriches our lives when we learn about other ways people have lived.”

The archaeological work is expected to wrap up this week.

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Information from: The Daily Dispatch, https://www.brainerddispatch.com

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